Wolves vs. Dogs

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SWBAT determine similarities from one piece of information in a text.

Big Idea

Engage students in a interesting text comparing lesson using a variety of strategies.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection and Introduction

This is the first lesson in a unit that will build students' text comparing skills and move from RI.1.3 towards RI.1.9. In this first lesson, I just want my students to begin analyzing text for things that are similar and different.  The rest of the unit builds upon determining the similarities and difference in the author's perspective in two text on the same topic, which is standard RI1.9.  I am kind of breaking the standard down into several lessons dealing with the terms similar and different.

This the first lesson, and we use one book. We simply find "connections or similarities" in two animals from one text.  The next lesson is about finding similarities in two different text. Then we begin finding similarities and differences in two text on the same topic. I find that breaking the standards down in to small pieces that can be accomplished in one lesson is the best way for my students to master the standards.

I understand the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard states students should analyze how and why individuals, ideas, and events develop over a text. I try to create situations for students to read from a wide range of high quality text because it is recommended in the standard.  When my students experience extensive reading opportunities, I find they gain a wide base of knowledge about different subjects and develop a broad cultural awareness. This lesson is basically expanding their knowledge of dogs and wolves.

I take an except from the text to allow us the compare information in a text.  I added my except (Excerpt) for an example, but teachers can create their own. I thought it might help teachers pick their own text.  Each group has a copy of both excerpts to use for evidence.

Students begin the lesson seated at their desks in heterogeneous groups (Peanut Butter Jelly Partner). For partner work they move to the center table so they have more room and I can have all the materials they need set up. I also find it helpful to move my students every twenty minutes. So, I made a video about Transitions.


I tell the students this story because it makes the lesson personal. I found this book in the library at my school one Saturday when I was honoring a bribe with my son.  He loves to read about wolves and we pretend our dog is a wolf all the time.  The book is titled, Is My Dog A Wolf? I loved the image on the cover of the book. I project a photo the cover of the book to excite the students. The lesson image is actually the photo of the cover of the book.   I thought this would make a great lesson connecting pieces of information in a text about a dog and a wolf. I tell the class we are going to compare two pieces of informational text.  We are actually analyzing how a dog and a wolf are similar, while using evidence from the text.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

We echo read each text which engages every learner.  I feel that the students need to read the text prior to evaluating it. I also like to echo read because everyone in a first grade class may not be able to read all the words in the text.  First graders learn to read at a different rate so I am scaffolding my instruction by echo reading.

I put my graphic organizer on the Promethean board and label the top, "dogs," and the bottom, "wolves."  I ask the students to discuss what is the same about a wolf and a dog.  Learners make a list on a sticky note.  After I see they are finished discussing, I ask one person from each group to give us a piece of information that was the same.  I write it on the graphic organizer if everyone gives a thumbs up.  As each student adds information I try to promote conversation among the students.  I ask the speaker to tell us which words in the text tell you that.  I often label each line with the word count so students can say I found it on word count line __. It speeds up the process of students sharing their evidence.  It also helps everyone find the text.  I ask the students to discuss the difference and make a list on a sticky note.  Each group selects a speaker and they present their evidence and idea.  By giving the students the choice to speak I avoid putting a very shy student on the spot and making them uncomfortable.  I model writing as I place their evidence on the graphic organizer (Wolf Vs. Dog Graphic Organizer).

Then I say we have found similarities between two animals from one text (Board Work).  I ask one student to read the similarities.  I try to allow volunteers to avoid making anyone uncomfortable.


Partner Work

20 minutes

Students are given an informational text lexiled for their reading level. Learners fill in the same graphic organizer used in the guided practice the information or events.  Students  are also asked to underline or highlight the evidence in the text. I find most of my informational text from Read Works Passages because the stories are lexiled, but I used Tara and Bella in this lesson. I have a copy for each group because I wrote a donorschoose.org project and got it funded.

I walk around and ask questions.  I make sure everyone is working and staying on track.


How are Tarra and Bella alike? 

What do they do that is the same? 

How are they similar? 

I use a lot of different vocabulary to expose my students to new words that also have a similar meaning. 

Student Reflection

5 minutes

Students move to the lounge area. I give some students an opportunity to work on their speaking and listening skills. I anticipate the struggle that many first graders experience with this lesson.  To provide additional modeling I select two or three students to present their venn diagram to the class.  I allow volunteers to comment and I respectfully comment.  I might say I like the way you spoke in complete sentences.  You did an excellent job finding similarities and another similarity I thought of is___. I am modeling building on the comments and ideas of other which is a skill I want my students to learn.


5 minutes

Each student tells their peanut butter jelly partner one two things that are similar. I am assessing their ability to use apply the new term. Maybe they will say, "I am similar to Mrs. Aymett, because we are both girls." I then share some of their conversations.

I state the lesson goal.  I can identify similarities in an informational text. They echo, tell a friend, and repeat it with me. This repetition builds memory and telling a friend makes the lesson personal.